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The Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts opened in September, 2002, but that landmark date was but one crescendo in the long history of performing arts on the UC Davis campus.

In the mid-1950s the Committee for Drama, Lectures and Music was formed, with responsibility for organizing events and lectures on the UC Davis campus. The group changed its name to the Committee for Arts and Lectures in 1960 and to UC Davis Presents in 1990. For decades, the group organized events in venues throughout Davis and Sacramento, featuring some of the finest artists and thinkers from around the world.


In his 1994 Inaugural Address Chancellor Emeritus Larry N. Vanderhoef made the following statement:


“I have long felt that there is one major resource that is lacking on this campus.  That resource is a center for the performing arts, a facility that will symbolically and practically stand as UC Davis’s commitment to the arts and humanities. At major universities around the world, the performing arts center is the point of convergence where the achievements of the university are celebrated, new ideas debated, scripts and musical compositions tested, and the treasures of the world’s literary and performing traditions are given life.  It is a laboratory for the fine arts and humanities. And it is a facility that we must have.”

Vanderhoef was joined in his vision for a performing arts center by a number of visionary donors, whose support made the Mondavi Center a reality. The first donation, announced at the 2000 groundbreaking for the building, was from the Rumsey tribe, which is now recognized for its initial gift by the Yocha DeHe Grand Lobby. Critical contributions from Larry and Rosalie Vanderhoef, Barbara K. Jackson and Robert and Margrit Mondavi helped give life to the dream of a performing arts center on the UC Davis campus.

The Mondavi Center has become a welcoming home for arts lovers from across Northern California. The building is also a landmark for the thousands of cars on Interstate 80 that pass by an impressive and welcoming new south entry to the Davis campus including our neighbors the Walter A. Buehler Alumni Center, the Graduate School of Management, the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, The UC Davis conference center and hotel and the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art.